DINK #270 Have You Ever Worked Really Hard To Fail?

Posted on : 16-12-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized


Of course you haven’t, at least not consciously.  But you may have worked very hard and failed anyway.  That’s what I’m facing right now with this project at school.  I have never put so much time, effort and money into something that I wasn’t going to be paid for (and well!).  Even so, I dutifully drove the 70 mile round trip to the lab yesterday to work on the rough model of this project board. We were tasked with taking a lobby space and making it into a multiple use area.  So my space has four rooms for recreation and television watching; group meetings; group meetings or study groups and studying only. I thought I had pretty much finished the “rough” model yesterday after I put the color on the inside walls. But this afternoon when I went into meet with the professor, he changed around some of the walls (to make sense of the space), added some grid/tile space to the outside floor plan, added three different windows and one screen of windows on the outside to divide up the space, oh and a little partial ceiling space in the center to add interest.  Yeah, and now I get to make the “final” model replicating all of this. Perfectly. Neatly.

If you think that I am an Architect or Interior Designer you would be sadly mistaken.

When Martha Stewart casts her sympathetic eyes towards the island of misfit craftspeople, I am the one that her gaze usually falls upon.  Yet, here I am in this class working the hardest I have ever worked on something that I really feel that I might fail doing.

Of course you know that this gives me plenty of food for fodder to talk with you guys about and hopefully inspire you to greater heights of self-awareness.  For one thing, who among us has ever intentionally worked hard to fail?  I don’t believe any of us would do that on purpose.  When I was younger and really spinning out of control with my unrealistic vision of perfectionism, I would not even attempt something if I thought I could not do it perfectly.  That meant that I did not attempt a whole lot of things.  My self worth was all tied up in the outcome of whatever I attempted as well so if if the outcome couldn’t be guaranteed to be fantastic, then the message in my head was that I shouldn’t even attempt whatever “it” was.

Well for crying out loud, can you imagine all of the wonderful inventions or miraculous “mistakes” that would not have been discovered or created if the people behind them had thought like I had for so many years?  I know there have been some pretty amazing discoveries in medicine (like penicillin from mold on bread) from people stumbling upon them (stumbling on the discoveries not the mold or the bread!)

All this to say, that I am prepared to fail fantastically or succeed minimally by doing the best I can do at something that I am not very good at just because I’m beginning to suspect that this particular class is part of my “spiritual practicum”.  After sitting in the lab for four hours on a Saturday afternoon watching the professor add some more intricate pieces and designs to this project board—gorgeous though they were—I could almost hear angels giggling in the background, a little hysterically perhaps but nevertheless giggling.

So why not? Why not work really hard to fail or succeed minimally but know in your heart of hearts that you’ve done the very best you could? And you know what? That’s where the gold stars lay for you my friend. In your willingness to stumble on out there and not have a clue how your best efforts will fare because it is in the center of your willingness to expose your most secret fears that your greatest brilliance will shine!

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